According to outgoing Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s parliament will hold its second meeting on Tuesday, the absolute last day possible for them to reconvene under the constitution.
The parliament last met on June 14, in an 18 minute session which involved the new MPs being sworn in and then immediately going into recess. Under the constitution the parliament was only allowed to recess for 30 days without electing a new president.
Following the March 7 election there has been a complete political deadlock, the Iraqiya party of Ayad Allawi won 91 seats, current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law won 89 seats, and the Iraqi National Alliance won 70. Any bloc would need 163 seats to form a new government, necessitating a coalition.
But the second session of parliament will come, like the first, with little apparent progress on the coalition front, though increasingly there appears to be consensus that the current President Jalal Talabani, of the Kurdistan Alliance, will retain the presidency.
Allawi has expressed hope that a government will be in place by August, but there continues to be considerable dispute over who will be the next prime minister, with State of Law demanding that Maliki be allowed to retain the post. Another top Iraqiya official, Haidar al-Mullah, has condemned the idea, insisting that there was no point in holding the election at all if Talabani and Maliki will just keep their positions despite their parties’ dismal showings in the vote.